The Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne OBE reports on her ongoing engagement programme.
As part of this, staff from my office held a focus group meeting this week with residents from Lewes and the surrounding villages of Ringmer and Falmer.
I spent some time with the group and was pleased to answer questions including how money from the precept rise will be spent to provide tougher policing enforcement across the county.
It was very encouraging to hear from these residents that they had seen a noticeable increase in police visibility over recent months.
I will continue to reach out to local people all over Sussex; to understand their concerns and views about policing to inform my decision-making and work alongside the Chief Constable.
Over the last 18 months we've held over 20 focus groups and in the coming weeks there are plans for similar events in Horsham, East Grinstead, Arundel, Heathfield and the Manhood Peninsula south of Chichester.
Throughout the year there are also public meetings and events where local people can interact with me and my staff. Over last summer my office had a stand at nine events as part of our Talk Sussex campaign – including Brighton, Crawley, Eastbourne and Worthing – where we were able to meet more than 3,000 residents.
Online polls are another way I can find out views from communities right across Sussex on a range of issues. Over the past months I’ve consulted on topics including road safety, anti-social behaviour and the use of artificial intelligence in policing. In coming weeks I will be asking what the public think about facial recognition technology.
Listening to Sussex residents and businesses is a key part of my role. I'll soon be launching a consultation in Crowborough to find out what people would like from the new police station and helping Sussex Police design front offices fit for the 21st century.